Creating a pumpkin seeds sensory table is a great way to bring a little bit of autumn into the preschool classroom. Sorting, scooping, pouring, and more – the fun will be endless with so many different ways to use the seeds.
Pumpkin Seeds in the Sensory Table
Pumpkins are often linked with fall, so it is a perfect time to bring the season into the preschool classroom! Students who carve pumpkins at home can connect the activity at home with this sensory table.
Using authentic materials, such as pumpkin seeds, in the sensory table helps to tie together a theme or season throughout the classroom. And don’t worry – you can purchase already dried, salt-free pumpkin seeds directly online! No need to scrape dozens of pumpkins, rinse the seeds, and cook them. Just open the package and get ready to have some sensory table fun!
Begin with the Basics
When starting a pumpkin seeds sensory table, begin with the basics. Place a bin filled with seeds in the sensory table. This allows the students to scoop to their heart’s delight without having seeds all over the floor. The table catches any overflow, and the students can work to scoop the seeds back into the bin. Adding visual cue cards of appropriate behaviors when using the sensory table is also a great idea! Provide scoops, tweezers, tongs, or shovels for students to practice using their fine motor skills.
Add some coin banks to the table to encourage even more fine motor skills! Students slip the seeds in like coins. The banks pictured were bought at Five Below and wrapped with black duct tape, but similar items are available online.
Getting Fancy with the Pumpkin Seeds Sensory Table
Want to bump it up a notch? Create colored pumpkin seeds for the sensory table!
How to Dye Pumpkin Seeds
- Put the seeds in a seal-top bag with a splash of liquid watercolor and shake well.
- Pour the bag onto a covered surface and spread the seeds out to dry overnight.
- Repeat with different colors for an entire rainbow, or go with an orange, black, and natural theme!
Super simple but it yields beautiful results! Add tongs and props, such as plastic spiders and pumpkin jars for students to sort. Students won’t be able to resist the brightly colored seeds!
Guided Play at the Pumpkin Seeds Sensory Table
Sometimes, students may need a bit more direction on how to interact with the sensory table. Providing how-to cards (included in the Pumpkin Patch Dramatic Play set) is a great way to increase interaction. Not only are they fun, but they add an extra literacy element to the table. Couple them with mixing bowls, whisks, measuring cups, and more, and the students dive in and create delicious pies in no time.
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Pumpkins Preschool Unit$10.00
Circle Time lessons are done for you in this Pumpkins Preschool Unit! This unit of study is a fun way to welcome Autumn, October, and Halloween with the students in your preschool classroom!
- 10 circle time lessons
- 11 math, literacy, & fine motor centers
- Book Recommendations
Mixed Media Sensory Bins
Sticking with the pumpkin seeds as the base for the sensory table, additional elements can be added to change it from week to week. In this case, acorns, baskets, scoops, and stuffed squirrel figurines were added. Students help the squirrels collect their acorns and seeds for the winter…how fun!
Learning at the Sensory Table
To the untrained eye, a sensory table may appear to be where students are simply “playing.” But a well-trained educator knows that it is SO much more than that! The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) describes things such as a sensory table as “playful learning.” It states that “playful learning describes a learning context in which children learn content while playing freely (free play or self-directed play), with teacher guidance (guided play), or in a structured game.” Within the preschool classroom, this can take on many different appearances.
Social – Emotional Learning
Sensory tables provide an excellent opportunity for students to interact with their peers. They practice taking turns, communicating, sharing materials, and self-regulating their emotions while working with others.
Early Math Skills
Something as simple as a color sort is a bridge for early math skills in the preschool classroom. Colorful poms and bins create an inviting opportunity for students to interact, sort, count, estimate, problem-solve, and more!
Emergent Literacy Skills
By adding a fun name search or simple letter blocks, emergent literacy skills are strengthened through play at the sensory table.
No matter the filler, sensory tables can serve a variety of purposes. Most students enjoy the opportunity to play with the sensory materials. Additionally, they require little guidance from the teacher. While items such as color sorts, letter finds, or motor skill practice items can be switched out weekly, the base filler can be used all month long.
More Pumpkin Fun
- Find some fantastic pumpkin books HERE
- Pair a pumpkin seed sensory table with a unit of study on pumpkins.
- Encourage creative thinking and help guide student learning by setting up a pumpkin patch dramatic play center.
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